Handling Sports Injuries
Bicycling, dancing, hill and mountain climbing, weight training and other heavy workouts, running, basketball, soccer, football, volleyball, tennis. All these sports are fun, health-enhancing, and positive activities. All these sports can also eventually lead to a sports injury at some point. It is definitely not a good idea to avoid workouts or sports simply to avoid sports injury. However, if you are injured, it is important to handle the injury carefully and in the right way, so you can recover fully and get back into healthy physical activity.
What to do When You Have a Sports Injury
Discontinue the activity for the time being. Continuing through pain worsens the damage from a sports injury. Rest the involved area. This just means take it easy for a while. The body’s healing mechanisms require 2-3 weeks to repair damaged tissues. Apply ice, 15-20 minutes twice a day to sports injuries. Try to avoid NSAIDs (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen or naproxen, as they slow the healing process. These NSAIDs can also have undesirable side effects, including damaging the gastrointestinal lining.
Using Natural Supplements for Sports Injuries
We regularly recommend using nutritional supplements to patients who have had sports injuries. Nutritional supplements can reduce pain and inflammation and speed the healing process. Curcumin (from turmeric), boswellia, omega 3 fatty acids from fish oils, iso alpha acids, hyaluronic acid and others are useful. Collagen supplementation can help provide the body with the building blocks it needs to repair soft tissue.
If You Have a More Severe Injury
If the sports injury is more severe, get a physical medical examination right away. Diagnostic testing including X-ray or MRI may be necessary to determine the extent of damage. If something is broken or torn, immobilization or surgery may be needed. Non-displaced fractures, however, may heal by themselves. Fractures usually need 6 weeks to heal. Avoid alcohol as it retards healing, and never workout after drinking alcohol.
Special injections may heal torn muscles, ligaments, tendons, or cartilage. The results can be dramatic. We use prolotherapy, ozone therapy, platelet rich plasma (PRP), and specialized biocellular injections using materials containing cells or growth factors. Our injections are done using ultrasound guidance, to place the needle precisely at the point of injury. Multiple injections properly placed can have marked effects on healing after a sports injury.
Allan Sosin MD
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